Jenna Jauhiainen I have a major in philosophical aesthetics in the University of Helsinki, with my main secondary subject being cognitive science. I have been writing for Mustekala since 2008.
I am interested in international politics, religious symbolism, buddhist psychology, the future of the internet and metaphysics. My insight to art nowadays comes from hands on practice. I publish my photographic works and writings online, available for everyone and free from commercial activity at dyslexiaisokhere.blogspot.com
The purpose of this piece of writing is to give the dear reader an idea of how I approach art, and also to give a brief glimpse of how I write about artistic experiences.
If there’s such a thing as taste in reality, then it is something that lays on top of a thousand individual experiences. From that base of personal history one can formulate justifiable opinions. The amazing processor, the human brain, has made sure everything is well categorized. A good share of my experiences of human made artistic and entertaining products have come through the world wide web. I could point out several beneficiary things about so called piracy and its effect on the cultural scene, but for now let’s just say I believe those who do great work will receive the praise they deserve more likely in the sphere of online communities than within traditional institutions, which are no longer needed to define individual success.
I like art that can stand on its own and be understood, which means not demand explaining what one experiences through information which really doesn’t have anything to do with a piece of work, like that the artist wanted to express the emotional destruction produced by alcohol, or that the artist is just questioning the art institutions by the means of feces, or that cubism was a very important phase in the history of avant-garde. Shortly, on my opinion intentions and cultural or historical context don’t do much for the value of a given work of art. It can of course have value as an historical artefact, but that value is not to be counted as an artistic merit of the work itself.
I believe that art servers a cognitive need in a human being, and has done that since the dawn of time. To stress my point, that cognitive need is something which can be satisfied without the knowledge of art history or such, and so it should be. Or like Ayn Rand put it: art allows human beings to grasp concepts as though they were percepts. These concepts already exist within us, as a part of the lump of all that we as individuals have experienced. As a rule of thumb we seem to be drawn towards art that has been made by a person with a very similar sense of life than what we have. Thus if my way of aproaching art seems elitist, it is purely for I expect good performance and high moral standards from myself and all others, but yet do understand perfectly well why some people love Picasso’s work and why some love movies by Almodóvar. Preferences like this depend from where does one feels ones sense of life reflecting back in the most coherent manner.
My mother took me to see the opera Madama Butterfly a week ago, in order for her to see her favorite play and also to celebrate my 22th birthday with a new experience, for I had never been to opera before. I’ve seen a musical in Broadway and mainly amateur theater in the past, so my expectations were really weird to say the least. I envisioned slightly overweight people singing on the edges of their voices with a close resemblance to screaming, dressed in heavy costumes and barely moving while the whole theater bathes in light. Maybe due to these ideas I decided to drink one whiskey after the dinner which took place before the show.
I had been inside to the Opera House in Helsinki before, but never during a show of course. It was exciting to see how tidily most of the people had dressed up, including myself. Built in the early 1990s, the Opera House is white inside out, culminating in its spaciousness to an awaiting area opening up to Töölönlahti through a glass wall. The hall itself is simplistic in the scandinavian manner.
Last winter, back in Rome, I went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D to a theater in Trastevere, close to where I lived. An old story was brought to too much life for my eyes at least, for the next day began a series of migraines for me. Now, when the curtains opened in the opera hall, the stage blew my mind – it was askew and lit in a soft way which made it seem like a visual illusion before the performers stepped in to define its proportions. It was real life 3D.
The experience of going to the movies have lost its charm for most, probably due to becoming a commodity in the last few decades. But live performances are a trip to an another world, where being in the audience means much else than annoying others by opening candy wrappers. The audience energizes the amazing live performers, who wouldn’t be there were it not for the audience. It is an experience worth wanting to be in the same space than people with amazing physical capabilities. It has happened to me a number of times, in musicals and in classical concerts, that I experience a short of a shock from being in the same space than a being who can sing in the way that seems supernatural to me, accompanied with such a variety of instruments playing in harmony that it too is beyond my understanding. That shock feels like infant confusion, causing tears to run for no apparent reason. There’s just the knowledge that they are for something positive, not negative.
I think there’s a profound level in the human consciousness which knows as an absolute truth that all us human beings are the same. When we see a fellow man do great things, there’s something that awakens and knows that the actualized potential at hand is something we all share. Seeing other people do amazing things has great psychological value for an individual, for at its best it is a reminder of the fact that we can all achieve amazing things. Art should aim at provoking this experience, and my greatest compliments go to works that do.
I am interested to write art critiques on practically all fields of art. I am an idealist to the core, and that is something which reflects in all of my writing. I reflect my values in my writing, and also am keen to look at the values behind works of art and bring my interpretation on them for the eyes of the reader. When trying to grasp a cultural context of a given work I enjoy observing and contemplating on my personal experience, which does not mean that I would know much about phenomenology, but instead derive my theoretical paradigm from psychology.